Nathaniel Gray

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Paving the Proud Path

Nathaniel Gray

(He, Him) is 34

Nathaniel came out in southern Ohio in 2001. He was raised by two Marines and went to Bible Baptist church 3-4 times a week. He suffered severe depression and like many other queer young people, he even contemplated ending his life. While his parents were not overtly supportive, they were clear that they loved him, and at the time, that was enough.

After moving to New York, Nathaniel found his tribe and made peace with his orientation. He’s had many careers in NYC, from private school administrator to professional drag queen. It struck him one day that for all the tolerance, acceptance and support in the world, queer kids of the future will still have to figure it out alone, wrestle that demon and then out themselves for support. That simply isn’t fair, and he decided he had to address it.

Nathaniel studied Social Work to better understand how the systems of oppression and inequality affect our everyday experience and focused on the anomaly that is coming out.

Then Nathaniel founded The Proud Path. Its purpose is simple: to educate adults about how hard it is to come out. In social work, empathy and acceptance are the strongest factors in healing and growth. Nathaniel mentors parents, advocates for their children at school and has built courses to help them learn more about their child’s reality. Nathaniel has delivered his curriculum at the collegiate level, worked with public and privates schools and with larger organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC. Nathaniel is creating a How-To guide modeled after social work practice, with weekly lessons and various narratives. This will be a great support for parents of queer youth to be certain they are connecting with their LGBTQ+ child and mitigating risk factors like depression and anxiety.

Nathaniel was recognized on the New York Nonprofit 40 Under 40 in 2018 for this work. His end goal is clear: educate as many adults as possible on the queer adolescent experience and save as many children as possible along the way.